Demolition of the northern end of the Merchants Crossing shopping center in North Fort Myers is nearing completion. What used to be a Sears department store was demolished last year. Over the past few weeks, work continued on tearing down the northern portions of the strip mall.
RD Management bought the center at the northwest corner of Pine Island Road and U.S. 41 for $20.5 million in October 2015. Since then, the New York City-based property management and development company has planned an apartment complex for the northern part of the center.
“Each project has a different story,” said Eric Moran, executive vice president of residential development for RD Management. “There have been scenarios where big boxes like Sears or K-Mart have been vacated. We turn them into mixed-use centers with residential and retail components. The residential can play off the retail components and vice versa.
“By 2024, this is going to be a hub in that North Fort Myers area.”
The shopping center will be keeping its anchor tenant of AMC Merchants Crossing 16, a 16-screen movie theater.
Other tenants include a JOANN Fabric store, a Bealls Outlet and a Planet Fitness.
Construction on an apartment complex of about 275 units in four buildings should begin next year after permits are in place, Moran said.
There will be about 260,000 square feet of new construction, including 10,000 square feet of amenity space and 20,000 square feet of outdoor amenities, including a dog park, a courtyard and a pool.
Eventually, RD Management will build a 12,000-square-foot outparcel south of the existing Applebee’s restaurant.
Brooks and Freund will be the construction contractor on the apartments.
“The prices will be at the high end of the submarket in North Fort Myers,” Moran said. The prices aren’t set, but he said it would be about $1,600 a month for a studio, $1,750 for a one-bedroom and $2,700 for a three-bedroom apartment.
“We’re excited about it,” Moran said. “We think it’s going to be something special there.”